Why Sensitive Souls Need Rituals. ~ Kathryn Nulf

Via Kathryn Nulf on Feb 9, 2014

Not for reuse

There was a good year where I listened to the same album every night as I drifted off to sleep.

I didn’t get tired of it. I loved knowing what to expect. I knew the order of the songs, the way things started and the way the music progressed.

I loved having something familiar there for me night after night before sleep. It was my way of being there for myself again and again.

The lyrics had meaning, sure. I felt their melodies more than the words though, deep to my core.

I didn’t know what a highly sensitive person (HSP) meant at the time. I just knew that I went through life feeling things very intensely. I loved to know what to expect. I loved familiarity (as I was in a strange place, away at college).

And listening to the same album every night was my normal. It felt perfectly natural to me.

It was when I shared it with others that I got a “Huh?” kind of response. I don’t know why, but I thought they would be able to relate, as if they were doing it, too. It just felt so natural to me that I assumed it did for everyone else.

For HSPs, having daily rituals in their lives can help them feel at one with their world, instead of just being overwhelmed by it most of the time.

Having that album play each night before sleep was my start to embracing rituals in my life.

Rituals can have a profound impact on us HSP’s: they calm and ground us, soothe the spirit, slow us down, remind us to live in the present moment, nourish our soul and remind us that we are responsible for our own well-being.

Think about what we love to do: What soothes our soul? What comforts us and brings us to life at the same time?

Rituals have a calming effect on our nervous system because it gives us something to look forward to, that is at once both freeing and grounding. It brings us out of our heads (anyone else live there almost 24/7?) and back into our bodies. It gives us a break from the overthinking mind and lets us rest right here, right now.

Doing rituals on a regular basis (daily if possible) is ideal because it lets us know calm is on the calendar. If we haven’t realized this yet, self-care is of utmost important to HSPs.

So what is an example of a ritual?

We don’t need to listen to the same music every night to be adding in rituals into your life, promise! Spend some time thinking about what grounds us. Because HSPs can live in their heads so much of the time, we need to ask ourselves what brings us back to earth. What grounds us?

Some examples include:

1. Drinking a hot cup of tea each morning while reading a book

2. Walking your dog through your favorite park

3. Listening to music you love while taking a dance break (my personal favorite!)

4. Tuning into yourself through meditation

5.  Stretching your body and breathing

6. Writing in a journal

7. Asking yourself what you are grateful for

Perhaps it’s even a combination of these examples, or something completely different?

If we’re having a hard time figuring out what ritual might work for us, think about what grounds us and brings more balance into our life.

Jot some ideas down and get a good list going that we can refer back to. Try something out for a few days or a week and see how we feel.

At first, it may seem like a lot to ask.

It’s important to remember that HSPs tend to not like structure, unless it is of their own creation. Adding in a daily ritual is doing just that—taking power back into our own hands and creating balance in our life in the process, one ritual at a time.

Bringing in a daily ritual is a way for HSPs to work with their unique trait, not against it.

We need more downtime than the average person, and setting time aside each day for a meaningful ritual is our time to reconnect with ourself.

What comes to mind when we think of a daily ritual? Do we already do something every day that we would consider a ritual?

Leave a comment below and let’s share ideas and support each other.



10 Ways to Find Out if You Are Too Sensitive.


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Assistant Editor: Laura Ashworth/Editor: Rachel Nussbaum

Photos: courtesy of author



About Kathryn Nulf

As a Certified Health Coach + Yoga Teacher, Kathryn Nulf’s passion is to help highly sensitive people (HSPs) stop stress eating and discover a whole new relationship with food and body, without shame and overwhelm. Read her latest musings on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.



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91 Responses to “Why Sensitive Souls Need Rituals. ~ Kathryn Nulf”

  1. Hannah says:

    I love this article! I am going to develop some rituals of my own, this seems to be just what I need in my life right now.

  2. Hannah says:

    I love this article! I am going to develop some rituals of my own, this seems to be just what I need in my life right now.

  3. sabine says:

    Thank you – this sums up my life and I didn't even realize it. I've always been chided for being "too sensitive" – family, friends, employers etc. I didn't know for years that this is considered a negative trait – it's just how I am. Over the years I have developed many rituals that may seem boring to others but that make me feel whole and grounded. The morning walk, the cup of tea, prayer, incense and music, my yoga practice, I love it all and I don't get tired of it! ( although my husband teases me sometimes and calls me Rain Man….ouch). But when I feel whole and grounded I am able to share my sensitivities in a positive way with my clients, my loved ones and friends. In a good way. It's all about balance for me now. :)

    • Kathryn says:

      Beautifully said, Sabine. Love that – all of it. :)


    • sherab says:

      i'm with you, sabine. i also carried the "too sensitive" label since a little girl though realized pretty quickly that it was an admonition to be different than i truly was ~ in other words, an insult. taking care of ourselves is key! and often a hard won skill for us HSPs!

  4. Bryan Tramontana says:

    This is reaching me at am opportune moment. how true, I despise structure and am coming to realize how much untapped potential there is in embodying some that work with my development. As i read, I thought of meditation, a rather obvious source for me. But others came to mind, such as walking barefoot in a park and just breathing, or sitting in the sand and grounding as i immerse with all the sounds of nature. Thank you for sharing. I am grateful that i discovered this website, truly after being published recently, did i realize how many beautiful contributors there are sharing in this community.

    • Kathryn says:

      Thanks for your comments, Bryan. Walking barefoot in nature sounds lovely…the perfect way to ground! I am also grateful for EJ, and all that we have at our fingertips here. Enjoy your ritual discovery…


  5. rachel says:

    Thank you so much, I always seem to feel too much which is often overwhelming. I have to have ritual everyday to ground myself and stop from sinking under the weight of the world I take on my shoulders :-) I have to have my morning tea whilst I do my morning Medicine Card readings, and read my other daily meditations, and take time for meditation. I also need a daily Cardio workout, same time each day and which is always followed by walking my dog, these and my daily yoga practice keep me sane and grounded and at peace, thank youxx

    • Kathryn says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing here, Meagan. I love how the more we learn about our HSP trait the more our life can make sense. I love that creating rituals has become important in your own life…and that they help you. Amazing! Take good care xo.

  6. Jessy says:

    Have any ritual ideas that are doable while you have a four year old around?

    • Kathryn says:

      Hi Jessy! I don't have kids so this is a tough one for me. I would say to begin with small moments in your day that you can find a few deep breaths – 5 minutes of you time. Also, are there any activities that you and your child might like doing together that could be incorporated into your healthy ritual? What comes to mind for you when it comes to taking care of YOU during the day, even in a busy schedule?


    • Becca says:

      I have a four year old and a seven year old. We do daily walks, nightly reading in bed, and make art together. I find painting with watercolor to be relaxing and easy to cean up. Another one we love is when one person starts a drawing and then we switch papers and finish each other's art.

  7. meaganmccrary says:

    I love this, thank you so much for sharing. I'm an HSP and learning about it has made all of the difference in (as well as sense out) my life. I had zero boundaries or rules as a child, leading to a diagnosis of general anxiety. As an adult I've chosen a career that has little to no structure so creating rituals for myself is of the upmost important but I never understood exactly why. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Kathryn says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing here, Meagan. I love how the more we learn about our HSP trait the more our life can make sense. I love that creating rituals has become important in your own life…and that they help you. Amazing! Take good care xo.


  8. travis says:

    i can see where you are going with this article (I too used to go to bed listening to the same cd everynite, and basically drive to town with the same 4 cds for over a year. But. I think this is a very dangerous article. A lot of HSPs, like me, also tend to develop OCD, a coping mechanism gone awry. The use of the term "ritual" is incredibly loaded, as this is a trigger word in the OCD literature. I used to have a dozen rituals that needed to be done 'just right' in order to survive the day. Fortunately, i got help in the form of medications and 5 years of cognitive behaviour therapy, and avoid "rituals" like the plague (same thing with mantras – it would be normal for me to repeat mantras in groups of 5 over a 100 times!). As someone with detailed knowledge of OCD, I would gently ask you to find a different word for 'ritual' AND be mindful that rituals can turn into something hideous and life-crippling … cheers

    • Kathryn says:

      Thanks for your good points, Travis! I can see how ritual-like behavior can go overboard and become dangerous, and how some people may need to pay close attention to their behavior. I feel like the rituals I practice are mindful rituals. I do love the word "ritual" so I personally will keep it. :) It feels sacred to me. Because the rituals I am referring to are mindful and thoughtful, my intention is not to take it to an unhealthy level. For me, rituals are important and sacred, and vital for a balanced life.

      Be well,

      • travis says:

        i hear ya Kathryn, they can be a good thing indeed. Just a point though about intentions not to take it to an unhealthy level – there are no intentions when it comes to OCD, it's a brain chemistry thing – you have no choice, hence the term compulsion. I do agree with the power of being mindful and thoughtful, and of course, whatever brings you happiness and peace is gonna be alright? Ha, I just hired someone to teach me yoga at my house here on the Lake, let's see where that takes me on my mindfulness journey :) Cheers

    • I didn't know that "ritual" was a loaded word in OCD literature. Thanks for posting that. I think the definition of ritual is the problem. It sounds like it has one meaning in OCD and another here. I hear you about wanting to steer others away from using rituals, lest they over-use and abuse them. I myself have a "ritual" that may border on OCD — I don't know. It is not particularly life-affirming, but it is harmless. I guess I would add that a ritual that is life-affirming is different from one that is harmful. It sounds like the rituals you had were harmful or destructive and linked in with other OCD behavior.

      • Ellen says:

        I think that the article refers to routine, and ritual is a word that Kathryn uses to describe her routine that is very special and sacred to her. Call it whatever you want- routine, ritual, habit, tea time, whatever works. Everyone has their own personal daily habits that become special and for HSPs they are very important. Everyone is also responsible for keeping themselves in check, for not going overboard, for not letting something that is meant to be positive and affirm happiness and peace into something obsessive.

  9. Nicole says:

    About a week or so ago I articulated that I felt like I needed more rituals and a sense of routine. At the same time I began to notice that I had started developing a ritual over the last few months. When my husband wakes up before me, I ask him to let our two dogs out of their crates. They jump up on the bed and cuddle with me. And I realized that I not only get a great sense of comfort from their presence but from the ritual itself. I look forward to our time together in the morning, even if it is only for 10 minutes, though my favorite days are the ones where we can fall back to sleep for an hour or two more. Your article validated for me what I had been sensing–a growing appreciation for a new ritual as well as feeling the need for more of them during a particularly chaotic time in my life. Now I have a better understanding of why!

    • Kathryn says:

      I love my morning snuggle time with the dogs! What a beautiful realization, Nicole, and a beautiful ritual. Thanks for sharing with us here!


  10. I am an HSP. I love the benefits of adding ritual to one's daily life and feel reassured by it, but I want to add several points. Anyone could benefit from rituals, not just HSP's. It's just that the tone of the article seems to cast HSP's as a special case, not as a range on a continuum. The point about HSP's not liking structure, unless they create it themselves, is a fairly generic description of probably most of the human race. I wouldn't say it's an HSP special trait. I do like the idea of creating ritual which adds to the sense of power over our lives, but anything positive that a person decides to do for themselves will create that sense of mastery. Lastly, the comment about OCD or OCD-like behavior stemming from obsessive rituals is interesting and I would like to see some mention of that incorporated into future articles like this. Why not include the outlander, the minority opinion? That and sharpening some of the points you've made would make for a strong argument in favor of rituals. (Within moderation, of course.) Thanks.

    • travis says:

      I like your post Laura … yes, "rituals" is a very loaded word in the OCD world. I used to spend 30 minutes each nite on one ritual that i needed to do 'perfect', touching this and touching that, all in ordered numbers of five, before I could go to bed. And that's just one ritual. People with OCD have lots of rituals that they use to keep them safe. Part of the treatment is breaking free of rituals and compulsions. I HATE the word ritual, it's a scary word for me and those with OCD lol I would go with 'routine', that's better. But I do agree overall with the writer's main point, having things you look forward regularly as part of your day is a good thing indeed. As a mental illness, OCD (obsessive thoughts, ritual, compulsions that are never satisfied and you think you will die if you dont satisfy them) is definitely not a good thing. And we learn in treatment to kill rituals lol cheers

      • Kathryn says:

        Thanks Laura and Travis for your perspectives…it lets me in on new information and insights I hadn't thought of before. I appreciate your sharing with us here.

        All best,

  11. Betsy Barry says:

    What a lovely article Kathryn – your gentle nature comes through in a way that soothes. Enjoying my morning ritual now – cherished quiet time after my house empties in the morning before the rush of the day. Feel as though I should light a candle now. ;)

  12. Darlene says:

    A light just went on! Now I understand why I don't like people in my kitchen when I'm cooking….I'm not antisocial, it's my ritual time, my sanity time, my time to think and create far past the hour I'm cooking. Now I won't feel guilty about it and I will cultivate other rituals that are screaming to be allowed time in my day.

    • Kathryn says:

      Darlene, I am the same way with time spent in the kitchen! Thanks for reading and for sharing with us here. Nothing to feel guilty about.


    • travis says:

      but people like to help, it's there way of fitting in … pushing them away creates a divide … perhaps there is a compromise?

  13. Lennie says:

    Lighting some incense or a candle can also be very soothing. The ritual of following a recipe is also great:)

  14. annabellplush says:

    Forwarded this to my husband, as he never can understand why I get sort of frantic if a few of my routines get messed up. Perfect summary! Thanks!

  15. annabellplush says:

    Forwarded this to my husband, as he never can understand why I get sort of frantic if a few of my routines get messed up. Perfect summary! Thanks!

  16. Rachel says:

    YES i am a highly sensitive person, for sure, and i never realized that there was a specific name for it! Or if I did, I forgot. I am an artist, very intuitive and empathetic. I used to love falling asleep to the same CD for a while (maybe not a year, haha) to give me comfort. I had a "mellow mix" i used to play at the end of high school/beginning of college. I live in a much quieter house now, and don't need that background music to relax me or drown things out. But, I love my morning ritual, and don't do it "perfectly" everyday, but its good if I get some sort of version of this: Wake, drink water (sometimes with lemon). Read my daily devotions, pray, meditate. Practice yoga, shower, eat breakfast. This mindful, slow way of waking up helps me to wake up gently, prioritize my outlook, etc. At one time I used to write a gratitude list at the end of the day. Havent done that in a while, and i think i want to do it again. I just did it last night, which was good. I like to do an A-Z gratitude list sometimes. I still have some different "mellow mixes" that I like to play, or specific Pandora stations that play the same kind of relaxing, comforting stuff. Thanks for the article, it was an encouragement to continue nurturing my sensitive self! :)

    • Kathryn says:

      Your morning ritual sounds beautiful, Rachel, and super nurturing! I love that you shared with us here and are encouraged to continue to support your sensitive self. Enjoy it :)


  17. Linda Kali says:

    COOL, I thought I had "Spiritual O.C.D."…. now I have a new label and excuse….thanks fellow HSP's

  18. marcaeolog says:

    As a teacher I relied upon daily rituals for over thirty years to control my AADD tendencies and help me function as an "organized" person. When I was an archaeologist it was the building of my campfire each night that had the same effect. I always constructed it so that I would be able to light my kindling without a match the next morning. As a professional storyteller I start each story a certain way every time and woe be to me if I forget to wear a bandana around my forehead while telling. Though I am constantly creating new ones, I am a slave to rituals.

  19. Robin says:

    I have always been sensitive..to everything…I can just feel the energy in the room or from a person. Smells..tastes…lights…sounds… I never knew there was a "Label" for it…I used to have a glass of wine or two everyday to tone down my nervous system. But then I found meditation…and that is working for me. Thank you for a great article.

    • Kathryn says:

      Robin, thanks for your thoughts. I too used to drink to numb my sensitivity (perhaps more on that in another article). That's awesome that meditation helps you – it's a true life saver.


  20. Sara says:

    I never understood why people around me functioned as they do. They never seemed to see or feel the way that I did about things. I have to have a comfort. I smoked for years until pregnant. Now I have hot drinks and I am happy. I feel my environment quite deeply, colours, weather, space, buildings, structures etc in a way that others do not. This can stop me engaging with people I am with fully as we are operating on different levels at any one time. I like to listen to people properly but switch off when I know they are not doing the same. I feel th relationship immediately. I had never heard of HSP. I am glad I have as it explains a lot. I feel I am not the only one and can feel a sense of relief now, instead of feeling overwhelmed in general wondering why I feel things more than others. I love the rituals as they definitely calm and ground me. I do not lik structure I feel bored by it, however having children I have to have structure as its both good for the children and myself i have found. I always thought that was to do with my very chaotic and boundaryless childhood leading to my being unable to cope with imposed structure. I am finding that actually over time it is grounding and gives the security I never had. SO instead of being bored by it and driven crazy its given us a rhythm to our lives and that provides security and calm.

    • Kathryn says:

      Sara, thanks so much for sharing with us here. I totally hear you! All of it. So glad you have discovered about your HSP trait through this. I agree that having some structure feels grounding – to me too. Enjoy your sensitive self and know you are not alone.


  21. JFF says:

    Yes I can totally relate to this! My husband has made fun of some of the things I do (I can listen to the same music forever, and currently still listening to the same music for 3 years). And I have my routines that I don't like to be disrupted: my shower at night, followed by the things I do to get ready for bed. I also like my mornings to roll a certain way. I'm very much ADD and the bit of routine makes me feel centered even with all of the moving/transitions I've been through. Great article!

    • Kathryn says:

      Yes, loving all of what you said! And can totally relate. I like to try new music, but don't do it often – I love returning to the old familiar. It doesn't get old for me. I find when I do fall in love with something new, that becomes the new "on repeat" song. Thanks for sharing here :)


  22. Bonnie says:

    I am curious to know what the album was? Would you be willing to share it?

  23. Nausheen says:

    Thank you so so much. i fully well understand what your saying as i feel the same. Ive gone through life "being strange" always people around seem to think im different coz i can feel so much, it overwhelms me. I knew i was sensitive but couldnt understand why i need so much quiet time, People around me dont seem to need it. Its very reassuring, makes me feel saner :)

  24. Nance says:

    Wow, I learned so much from this article & comments-so much about myself! I have always been critized for being “too sensitive”. I know I must be ADD as my son has it and is very much like me. I am distracted easy, bey unorganized, hate structure as it makes me feel pressured and fake. I need my downtime (a lot of it), find comfort in my routines and defiantly listen to the same songs for months. Thank you for the enlightening article! I always have to tell myself it is OK to

    Feel things deeply, it is OK to take downtime when there are a million chores to do. I

    look forward to more articles on HSP’s!!

    • Kathryn says:

      Thanks for reading, Nance! So glad you saw some of yourself in what I shared, and in the conversations going on in the comments. I totally get what you mean with needing downtime – even when there's a long to-do list waiting for us. It's good to hear you are honoring your sensitivity and giving yourself that much needed love and care.

      Until next time :)

  25. Ryan_K says:

    I recently discovered that I'm Sensitive and this article brings sense to other aspects of my life. For over a year now I have been listening to ASMR videos widely available on youtube.

    With ASMR I can feel tingling all over my body that can be very strong at times.

    I am able to listen to the same videos many nights in a row which has become a permanent part of my nightly ritual. The benefits have been great in that my sleep has been better and falling asleep is much easier. And being able to block out the outside world for a time every night has helped daily concentration too.

    It would be great if anyone could respond that has this same condition. It doesn't even have to be auditory some ques could be visual or cognitive too.
    I just want to know if other Sensitives can relate since we stand apart so much from other people.

    • Kathryn says:

      Thanks for sharing here, Ryan. I'm glad you've found a routine that works for you and benefits your quality of life. I can't speak to that condition but maybe another reader could.


  26. Guest says:

    Wow, a HSP sounds a lot like me. Thanks a lot for this article that I can relate to, word by word – except for your rituals, which are different than mine. For each his own, but I've been gravitating towards prayers as a ritual. So far, it's been great! Peace

  27. Shiloh says:

    What album was it that you listened every night?

  28. Tamara says:

    Thank you for posting this. I am a recently self-identified HSP:-) and I've also just recently realized how truly fundamental rituals are to my soul. And as most rituals are practiced alone, I would say that what's also very important to HSP's is daily solitude. Whether it's 15 minutes or an hour, it's extremely important.

    • Kathryn says:

      What a beautiful way to put that, Tamara: that rituals are fundamental for your soul. I couldn't agree more. I love my daily solitude as well :)

      Thanks for sharing here,

  29. Salma says:

    I am an HSP too, i never knew there was a name for that too, i was being "accused of " being too sensitive all the time and "taking things personally", sounds familiar yea? i know .. or being asked to "chill" and "take it easy" or being called weird,.. things that have been getting to me in such deep and bad ways, they made want to run away from myself, they made me want to change so i can please other people around me because i was the weirdo out there, or so i can live, so i could exist easily without having to have some lame thoughts like " i can't handle people" or "i wasn't made to belong to this mean kinda world" .. i tried to stay as logic as possible.. i tried to change myself so i can fit and it killed me .. trying to change, in the process of it, i would notice myself doing things that i always do or things that would have people look at me as weird and then i would stop doing it .. eventually i shut myself off of the world and of course ..with no doubt, i built walls around myself.. it was expected.. i never accepted myself the way i am and i was being too harsh with myself, building walls and mountains .. till i fell apart and broke down.. i realized i can't do this anymore, i realized i had to quit and i had to find myself once again and i had to be okay with that, i had to be okay with "me" and i had to accept myself for whatever it is that i am ..

    • Kathryn says:

      I can relate to so much of what you are saying, Salma. I love what you wrote. You articulated perfectly what many HSPs feel and go through. So yes, what you're writing does sound familiar – not just to me either, but to a lot of people. You're not alone <3

      Thanks for sharing,

      • Salma says:

        Thank you for your soulful reply, it's funny i remember i wrote you more than this, maybe elephant has some limits with the comments' size,
        Anyway .. I thanked you for sharing your words with us and i was wondering how do we know if us doing "rituals" isn't just some cover for staying in a comfort zone, a familiar place, afraid of change or doing anything different or taking risks ? it's a trap, i feel..


  30. Mimi says:

    Thank you for writing this article. It has given me wonderful insight into my 8 year old daughter who has listened to the same CD every night of her life. I now understand why it is so important to her. It’s made me realize why she is so cranky when she gets home from school and why it takes her a half an hour to really relax. Oh thank you again for this eye opening explanation. I will have to research more about HSP

    • Kathryn says:

      You are so welcome, Mimi. I'm glad you received some insight into how your daughter relates to life. There are many helpful books out there by Dr. Elaine Aron about sensitivity that you might shed even more light. It takes me a about a half hour to relax as well ;)


  31. Shaleah says:

    Hot baths. Almost every night :)

  32. Tim says:

    I totally did the example the author uses about falling asleep to the same album. When I was a kid, it was Enigma, Chant or something equally soothing. When I was in High School it was the Braveheart OST and the Crow soundtrack (yup, I was "that kid"), when I was in college it was Duncan Sheik's first album and VAST. I had always attributed it to OCD or the appreciation for the album (which I gained immensely). It's interesting to see that so many others did or do this same thing.

    Rituals have changed, matured and disappeared over the years. Even though it's nice to read this and justifies a lot, rituals (much like a security blanket) can also be unhealthy when you become dependent on them.

    • Kathryn says:

      Yes I agree, Tim. They can be healthy or unhealthy, depending on your relationship to them. I love hearing that I'm not alone with the incessant music listening so thanks for letting me know. :) My love for the music only grew and I became even more curious about it, always hearing new depths to the songs the more I listened. It didn't feel strange or unhealthy to me.

      Thanks for sharing here,

  33. Liina says:

    wow. reading this list made me realize that maybe im a HSP too.. cause i do these, very often. and i havent even thought of being HSP.
    i need my writing, i need my little dance break sometime through the day. and i definitely need my yoga and to stretch my body. maybe it's ocd, have no idea…but..doubtful. if i havent done these things for several days because of work/school i seem lost and somethings missing…everything seems overwhelming and im kind of…not myself :)
    and ive been told "dont be so sensitive"…but maybe thats just who i am :)))

    well, thanks :)

  34. Sunshine Wang says:

    Amazingly, I do the same, I listen to the same CD very night before I fall asleep: Path! Thank you for this article! Thank you!

  35. KerensaSue says:

    Wow….. you have opened my eyes to who I have been. …and didn't even know. ….. Thank you

  36. Ruth Pace says:

    I didn’t have to even read the whole thing – and now I know why I will put the same cd or dvd on my beside player –

  37. Elina says:

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. I love my rituals, and they are my vantage points throughout the day. A time for me to check in with myself and give my nervous system a break.

  38. Thank you for this article, I just found it today and it has changed my life. I am a HSP but until today I had no idea there was a term for it. I grew up in a family that was VERY unsupportive of my sensitivity, they insisted there was something "wrong" with me and of course I then learned to judge and question myself on every single thing I thought, felt, intuited and perceived. Over the last many years I have realized that I HAVE TO put myself first. I have to have my down time, even if that means I can't be there for others and I lost many friends and family members over it as they took it as my being selfish and only caring about myself. I now know that this self-care is a vital part of my existence and I also understand that this is a big part of why I have chosen not to have children. I know that I can't give a child or children all that they require, most of the time I can't even deal with being around other peoples children for more than a few hours. I can enjoy them greatly for a while but when time is up, time is up and I need to retreat and recharge. Again, I just want to thank you for sharing this, it is a wonderful feeling to know that there is actually a term for what I have been experiencing all my life, a term and a community of supportive, like-minded people <3

    • Kathryn says:

      Rosemary, you have expressed so many of my own thoughts and feelings so well. Thank you for sharing here. I love the self care topic – it's true that it is vital to us HSPs. A "non-negotiable" I like to say. :)

      Thanks again for being you –

  39. Sammi says:

    I have different rituals. Every night I Skype with my bf. Every night I have 3 pillows on my bed, I take them off in the same order and place them on the same side next to the bed. Every morning I wake up, lay in bed for 3-5 minutes waking up before I get out of bed. Then I turn my lamp on and make the bed. I have a LOT of rituals!

  40. Rebekah says:

    This is great! I am highly sensitive and I used to hate structure and rebel against schedules. Then I found myself in a very stable life situation of my own making. I created a daily rutine with little rituals throughout the day, like making tea, that I do very slowly and carefully. It calms me down, and gives me space from the noise of life.

  41. Cecile says:

    Thank you for this article, like many people here I recognise my life in it although I'd never though of myself as hsp before. But I definitely need those calming rituals like tea and a book in the morning, or meditation, and very interesting about hsp not liking structure! I tend to get bored with anything repetitive usually but my rituals are something different, more grounding and soul nourishing. Maybe I should read more on hsps. Many thanks again x

  42. rudyink says:

    Wonderful post, Kathryn! Yes, familiar music flows like water to my heart. (Oscar Peterson is a particular favorite!) And my daily ritual is hiking my park trails with my dog, which has also inspired my ow blogging, such as this entry on walking meditation. Bless you! _/|\_ Rudy http://wp.me/p4cmRf-1p

  43. Bruno Pessolani says:

    Is there any test to know that you are a HSP?

  44. Crystal says:

    For a while, I was doing yoga and meditation daily. It was a good ritual and kept me feeling peaceful. I've gotten away from it, but I started up again a few days ago. It really did make a big difference. Side note: I had stopped because I was getting stressed and kind of overwhelmed by some personal things and when I told a yoga instructor he said, "These are the best times to practice!" :)

  45. Bonny says:

    I need to do this! I am definitely highly sensitive and didn't realize how much till I got older. I do need a lot of down time to myself! the problem is that I then tend to get lonely sometimes and grave tons of company. I need to find a balance in my life. My sensitivity I think is because of my dysfunctional upbringing. Probably part of my personality too but now I have to figure it out. For a middle aged person it can be frustrating which way to figure out that balance. thanks for the advice and I'll start to work on this immediately.

  46. Mindy says:

    People are always telling me I am too sensitive, and not to be so sensitive, as if I have a choice in how I feel. It is the most frustrating part of my life right now. I can only be me and this article is very helpful for me because I know now that I am not the only one out here who feels the world around us so deeply, the things people say and do affect us so profoundly. I am not very structured but I do have a couple of routines, one of which is a Native Flute CD that I like to listen to every night as I am going to sleep. I play it on repeat and set it up with the sleep timer. I will be trying to set a few more things up so that I can regain a little control of my surroundings, since I have a lot of anxiety and stress right now. This could be just what I need. Thank you to the author for bringing this subject out into the open.

  47. Lisa Ball says:

    Yes Shiloh, I want to know too, what album every night? Kathryn? Thank you for sharing. Lisa

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